90 Austin ISD schools harmed in winter storms, resulting in $15 million in damage

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After four days of walk-through inspections and assessments, Austin Independent School District officials say 90 schools were affected during the historic winter storms last week, resulting in approximately $15 million worth of damage.

Matias Segura, operations manager for AISD, said the district experienced everything from broken water and supply lines, downed HVAC systems and flooding that started in adjacent, unrelated properties that spilled into the schools.

Segura said the vast majority of schools will be able to receive students beginning March 1, when Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde announced in-person learning can resume.

The schools hit the hardest were Kocurek Elementary School, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Academy, Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy and Bowie High School, Segura said. The recommendation for those schools is still being determined.

“Our commitment is to make sure that our facilities are warm, safe and dry. That is absolutely critical. We will not open a space up until its 100% ready to go,” Segura said. “What that means is that we will need patience. We are going to need some grace to get through the work.”

Repairs have already begun using money tied to the district’s general fund, under the assumption the district will be reimbursed by either insurance or FEMA at a later date. Segura said while most schools will be open for students Monday, some wings of the schools may be locked down for student and staff safety.

On Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, the agenda calls for Elizalde to address priority focus areas. Other districts across Central Texas have discussed school improvement plans and formally approving the TEA waiver that allows school districts to take last week off due to the severe weather threat.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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